Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives

By Avner Falk | Go to book overview

The Irrationalities of Islamic Terror

Organized warfare has characterized our species for the past ten to fifteen thousand years. The Italian psychoanalyst Franco Fornari (1921–1985), a follower of Melanie Klein (1882–1960), thought that war was the paranoid or projective “elaboration” of mourning (Fornari 1974). Our nation and country play an unconscious maternal role in our feelings, as expressed in the term “motherland.” Fornari thought that war and violence develop out of our “love need”: our wish to preserve and defend the sacred object to which we are attached, namely our early mother and our fusion with her. For the adult, nations are the sacred objects that generate warfare. Fornari focused upon sacrifice as the essence of war: the astonishing willingness of human beings to die for their country, to give over their bodies to their nation. Fornari called war the “spectacular establishment of a general human situation whereby death assumes absolute value.” We are sure that the ideas for which we die must be true, because “death becomes a demonstrative process.” We shall discuss Melanie Klein’s theories of love and hate below.

The so-called “cold war” was a period of conflict, tension, and competition between the “capitalist” United States and the “communist” Soviet Union (and their allies), which lasted almost fifty years, from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s. The main U.S. allies were Western Europe, Japan, and Canada. The main Soviet allies were Eastern Europe and China (until the Sino-Soviet split). The rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in military coalitions, ideology, psychology, espionage, industry, technology, defense spending, the space race, a massive conventional and nuclear arms race, and many proxy wars. The term “cold war” was coined in 1947 by the American-Jewish financierstatesman Bernard Baruch (1870–1965) and by the American-Jewish journalist

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